F-one has shuffled its kite line up slightly. Now that there is a proper freestyle C-kite born, the latest Bandit can ease down a bit and focus fully on the less extreme side of kiteboarding. It is more friendly, gives a better indication where your kite is and has a bit more bar pressure. And with -finally- a new, but questionable, wide inflate we discovered how much the 11th version of the Bandit has shifted towards a kite which is even better for a beginner than previous versions.
Years before the so called game changers North Click bar or the Cabrinha fireball F-one invented a real game changer; the revolutionary multi-purpose Bandit. It has a brilliant and unique capability in the way it quickly powers and depowers by just sending the bar a few centimeter up or down. This way the Bandit gives such an easy and being-in-control, predictable feeling which made it a very popular kite. Beginners love its low bar pressure and more advanced riders will enjoy the quick, snappy behaviour and high wind usage.
But the revolution has come to an end. No wide inflate, no re-adjustable bridles, no single flag out safety, no swivel below the bar, relatively weak lines and still with damaging pulleys on the bridles. Don’t get us wrong, it is a good kite, but it clearly is lacking progress in the evolution of its design .
A brilliant and visionary move back in 2008, when F-one decided to reduce its kite range back -more or less- to only one type of kite; The Bandit. It is safe to say the Bandit made a lot of kiters really happy, no matter if they where doing freeriding, freestyle or even waveriding. An impressive achievement. Whatever we will have to say about the Bandit everybody, including us, will be happy riding a Bandit. But is the ninth version still revolutionary? We could test five different sizes of the 2016 version for over one month to answer that, and many more, question.
We see the F-one Bandit as one of the inventors of the -more and more popular- all in one kite. A kite that can be used without almost any compromise for freeride, freestyle and wave riding. Where most brands have at least three or more different lines of kites (North for example even has seven different types of kites), F-one believes in focus on more or less just one; the Bandit (next to the Trust and the Diablo, a race kite). Marketing wise this is kind of tricky. A marketing theory is that if you have less options the chance you will buy at this company decreases.
Stability with a superb wind range that is what the Switchblade is all about. The all-round Cabrinha Switchblade is described as a crossover, high performance and versatile kite. Cabrinha has more than seven different type of kites. But how the kite should be placed between the other six different kites it is not easy to judge. Good thing Cabrinha has made an overview of their kites. The Switchblade (being right in the middle) should be the more efficient kite but less responding than the FX (which we tested and liked very much) and capable of being good for just about every discipline. Continue reading Cabrinha Switchblade 9m 2016